I was taught that a colon never, ever follows a verb: it can follow only a complete sentence. Does anybody on this site support this type of usage? Can anybody provide links or examples of colons used after verbs? Have you ever used the colon in this manner in your writing?
I did some investigating this afternoon and unearthed some interesting information.
The Handbook of Good English and Merriam Webster's Standard American Style Manual support colons after to-be verbs. Awesome! This debunks the myth that colons cannot be used in this way. Does anybody agree with this? Two strong sources support this principle.
The Handbook of Good English by Edward D Johnson
The question was, did he like zucchini? is correct; the past tense of the question may seem to make it indirect, but it is still direct. Note that did is not capitalized; it could be, and some editors routinely capitalize in such a situation, but a capital is a surprise after a comma and in the example would give the question more independence and emphasis than the writer may want it to have. Note also the comma after was, needed to set up the question, almost as a weak colon.
We could, of course, actually use the colon and capitalize after it: The question was: Did he like zucchini? Or we could add quotation marks—which makes changing the tense desirable—and then would need no punctuation before the question The question was "Does he like zucchini?" These alternatives make the sentence rather stately, almost dramatic; the writer may prefer the smoother, more casual The question was, did he like zucchini?
Merriam Webster's Standard American Style Manual
The Interrupting Colon (as they call it)
Opinion varies regarding whether a colon should interrupt the grammatical continuity of a clause (as by coming between a verb and its objects). Although most style manuals and composition handbooks advise against this practice and recommend that a full independent clause precede the colon, the interrupting colon is common. It is especially likely to be used before a lengthy and complex list, in which case the colon serves to set the list distinctly apart from the normal flow of running text. With shorter or less complex lists, the colon is usually not used.
Our programs to increase profitability include: continued modernization of our manufacturing facilities; consideration of distribution terminals; discontinuation of unprofitable retail outlets; and reorganization of our personnel structure, along with across-the-board staff reductions.